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Federal court rejects NRA’s challenge to plan tracking gun sales

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Court rejects challenge to government’s requirement for gun dealers to report multiple sales of semi-automatic weapons

The National Rifle Association has suffered a rare setback in its crusade to block new gun regulations after a federal appeals court allowed the U.S. government to go ahead with a plan to reduce the smuggling of semi-automatic weapons across the Mexican border.

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The new rules, introduced by Barack Obama under his executive powers in July 2011, require gun dealers located in states abutting the border to report to federal officials any multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles such as AK-47s to individuals within a five-day period. The administration presented the requirement as a justified move to “detect and disrupt the illegal weapons trafficking networks” operating in Mexico.

The obligation to report such multiple sales would apply to all gun dealers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas in an attempt to cut off the supply of military-style weapons being smuggled into Mexico. The north of Mexico is being sapped by a virtual war between law enforcement and drug cartels.

But the NRA under the leadership of Wayne LaPierre vociferously objected to the plan, complaining that the measure was a ruse by Obama to introduce a register of gun sales via the back door.

The NRA lodged a lawsuit seeking to block the new regulations. It was supported by its sister pro-gun rights group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which is based in Newtown, Connecticut, the scene of the Sandy Hook school tragedy where 20 young children and six of their carers were killed in a mass shooting last December.

LaPierre has repeatedly raised the prospect of a national gun registry as a key element of his campaigning against any attempt to tighten America’s notoriously lapse gun laws. He used the exact same argument to help defeat a recent Senate bill that would have extended FBI background checks to all gun sales.

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In February, for instance, LaPierre told a gun convention in Utah: “This so-called universal background check is aimed at one thing: registering your guns. And when another tragic opportunity presents itself, that registry will be used to confiscate your guns.”

Three federal judges sitting on the U.S. court of appeals for the DC circuit ruled unanimously that they would allow the Obama administration to press ahead with implementing the new reporting rules along the Mexican border despite the NRA and NSSF’s attempts to stop it.
Crucially, the judges rejected out of hand the NRA’s argument that the new reporting obligations amount to a registry of gun sales. Under the scheme, officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) would only demand records from gun dealers in the four border states, and within those cases only on a tightly limited basis, the court ruled.

The judgment said that the information required “does not come close to creating a ‘national firearms registry’.”

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The NRA can now take its complaint to the US supreme court. But the appeals court ruling amounts to a highly unusual and possibly significant defeat for the gun lobby that is likely to encourage campaigners for greater gun controls to redouble their efforts.

© Guardian News and Media 2013

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Taxpayers spent $243,000 on disgraced ex-Navy Secretary’s trip where he insulted relieved captain: report

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On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that prior to resigning, disgraced Navy Secretary Thomas Modly's trip to Guam for the speech that upended his career cost the taxpayer $243,000.

"For taxpayers, the cost of the flight alone was at least $243,151.65, according to a Navy estimate," reported Dan Lamothe. "The figure was based on 35 hours of flight time to and from Guam, with refueling in Hawaii. Modly traveled on a C-37B at a cost of about $6,946.19 per hour, according to the estimate, which was obtained by The Washington Post. The jet is a military version of the Gulfstream G550."

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Andrew Cuomo threatens to bail on CNN interview when his brother shows vintage photo of governor in bellbottoms

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) appeared to feign anger during a CNN interview Wednesday in which his brother, Christopher Cuomo, showed a vintage photo of their family with the elder brother clad in bellbottoms, a rhinestone belt and an unfortunate attempt at an afro.

The younger Cuomo is still suffering from the effects of coronavirus, appearing redfaced and wiping his brow. However, his brother noted that he seemed more animated than he has in days.

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Fox News hosts are going back to downplaying threat from coronavirus: report

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Major Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity spent weeks assuring viewers that the novel coronavirus wasn't a serious threat. In recent weeks, however, they have shifted to a different narrative, acknowledging that the virus is dangerous but giving President Donald Trump credit for taking action and criticizing Democrats' lack of action — even though many Democrats, in fact, warned the pubic first.

But according to The Daily Beast, even as there is no clear end to the crisis in sight, and even as the U.S. crosses 13,000 deaths, many Fox News hosts are going back to downplaying the virus, either telling viewers it wasn't as bad as advertised and urging the president to end public safety measures against it.

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